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Volkswagen Phaeton

145791033

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    regfootballregfootball Member Posts: 2,166
    "The finest VW ever built...With a world class powerplant, the "Best All Wheel Drive System in the world" according to AUTOWEEK, fit & finish beyond reproach, glove soft leathers and beautiful woods, a simplicity of design and ergonomic environment that embraces the driver and puts a smile on the face. Not to mention, an exhaust note that will raise the pulse..."

    but nobody really cares much because VW is still thought of as purveyors of compacts and offbeat urban cars.

    And they have Audi.

    thankfully, at least VW doesn't just supercharge a pushrod engine, only becuase they don't won't to upstage the mother brand. Give credit to VW for trying to be on the tech edge, but really a w8 or w12 engine config is just overkill without any real benefits that couldn't be had with a simpler design.
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    merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    So the big Vee-dub is starting at 64.6K huh. Not bad, but a mid-fifties base price would have been much more competitive.

    http://www.thecarconnection.com/index.asp?article=6563

    M
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    merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    http://www.germancarfans.com/news.cfm/newsid/2031029.002/volkswag- - en/1.html

    "Premier Edition Phaeton W12 has a base price of $79,900 plus a special equipment package
     priced at $4,990 for a total MSRP of $84,890."

    On thing worries me here. The price for a W12 Phaeton is only slightly more than a loaded Audi A8L.

    vwguild,

    Price on the base Phaeton W12??

    M
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    a 24 hour test drive tonight. I'm off tomorrow so I can truly experience the vehicle.

    Here is what I can say so far:

    1. Dials are awesome. I can't put my finger on why exactly except that they just look really precise. I love them.

    2. Interior is very solid and well put together, the seat controls alone will keep you playing for 30 minutes.

    3. Retractable HVAC covers a little too James Bond 007 for me but the kids like it.

    4. The DVD that drives the navi must be old. I think it needs some work. The lady's voice turned to complete static. I reset it but the problem continued. After leaving the car off for a couple of hours it seemed to fix itself.

    5. Power trunk neat gimmick, however, it failed to open once I got home. Had to pry it up. Initial release of car so not a big deal. Nice pushbutton power close for the trunk in case you have your hands full I guess. A family of 4 could live in the trunk!

    6. The window controls for the driver are way to low and forward on the vehicle even for me. I’m only 5'7". I can't imagine what it will be like for someone 6'+. E brake extended too far I keep hitting it every time I got in the car.

    7. Nice power, of course it sucks the gas and how!!! I couldn't help wanting to push the car. It is fun to drive. The W12 can gulp a gallon of gas every 5 miles according to the computer.

    8. An absolute sin to see a 5-speed auto/man transmission in a car with this engine. Where's the 6-speed auto or the MB 7-speed!!!! This can't be overlooked. The car would be much quicker with an extra gear or two. Noticeable lag time off the line.

    9. Auto sensing rear seat head rests worked sporadically. I /we may not know how to use them correctly though.

    10. Right rear window went down and is stuck. I have to call the manager in the morning.

    11. Flawless handling with the all wheel drive and sport suspension.

    12. Speaking of the suspension, after turning off the car the ride setting reverts back to the default of midline between comfort and sport. I found this aggravating. I wish it would leave it as I set it. Not sure why there is the High/Low setting for the suspension. Maybe for snow...

    13. HUGE leg space in the back seat!!! The back is a limo. Very nice. Too bad I'll never be back there!!!

    14. Rear seat climate control, the kids are going to play with that until they break it. Thank god you can lock it out up front. How can they resist their very own screen thats lit up???

    15. Audio system, Louder than it is precise. Though I must admit to being an audiophile with a penchant for high end AV systems. There is no excuse for not having a CD player in the dash. You have to load them in the glove box. I'm not sure whose idea that was but they should be fired.

    16. At this price the lights should turn them selves off. My 30K Acura does that... As in my Jetta you have to turn the lights off at the switch in this car.

    17. When you put the car in reverse the outside mirror change position automatically to point to the rear wheels and back again when you put the car in drive. That's a nice feature.

    Well, that's my initial assessment. I will spend more time tomorrow in the car. I'm going to have to exchange it though do to the window problem.

    I realize my assessment may seem critical and that is because it is. I think I may have had bad luck on some of the functions that failed and you could chalk that up to a new release, however, these issues should have been caught and resolved prior to release to the public.

    If this car is to survive then the engineers will need to address a many of the items above. The biggest one is the transmission, in my opinion.

    Preliminary conclusion:

    Would I buy the Phaeton with the W12 for 85k?

    No, though I might consider the appx 330hp V8 at 65k because the car is very nice and its overall value is there... I won't consider buying one until they address the transmission and work out the bugs. Maybe in a year or two.

    This car could steal some market share if VWAG listens to the people and addresses some of these issues.
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    merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Finally something about a Phaeton being driven on U.S. soil. Kinda disappointing to me. I don't think there is room for the 6-speed and the W12 engine. CAR magazine reported many of the same electronic gremlins with their test car a few months back. I can't believe VW hasn't licked this window switch problem yet. Gee Whiz.

    M
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    rayainswrayainsw Member Posts: 3,192
    Agreed - but at that price (VW or 'other makes') one ought to be very critical.
    - Ray
    Hoping that at least the fuel tank is HUGE - at that gas mileage rate . . .
    2022 X3 M40i
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    vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    Thank you for taking the time to post your first 12 hours...I know that it takes some...

    Just a couple of points, and then I will look forward to your additional thoughts & impressions.

    I have no idea how Maintenance is being handled on these cars...I do know that they are using the closest Phaeton Dealers, but that is it...
    With new people driving these cars everyday; who knows what abuse they are receiving, or if the hotel is passing along notice regarding any problems...
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    vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    Have you been using the Tip Mode or just Drive?
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    I realize that some of that may occur that is why I give them the benefit of the doubt. Plus there are always bugs in a new product be it automobiles, SOFTWARE, what have you...

    There are some ideas that are good in concept yet don't translate into production. The Idrive from BMW coming to mind...

    This is one of the prices you pay for leading the way and developing new technologies. If they work and are accepted then they are geniuses, if not then well you know the rest.

    My wife drove this morning as I sat in back, even more room than it looked from the front.

    I like the seat cooler option.

    I realize that there are some who will bash it no matter what and those that will praise it no matter what. Thats brand loyalty.

    One of my pet peves is the way that the R&T and C&D writers always take one perspective when comparing higher end models. How does it perform is it a IRL car? Does it match the handling of the BMW?

    I find it very dificult to view all BMW's as the marker for excellence. Not because they are not fine automobiles but for the FACT that not everyone is looking to race around in their car. Some of us would sacrifice sports car handling for other features such as comfort, plushness etc.

    Since I was fortunate enough to be granted an opportunity to drive this car early, I wanted to provide an unbiased assessment of the car.
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    I have used the Drive auto mode, Sport auto mode (which seems to hold the gear to a higher RPM) and the Tiptronic mode.
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    The engine is packed in tighter than a frogs...

    Two hours after driving it for 45 minutes the engine is still real hot to the touch.

    Not enough space for heat dissipation???
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    fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    Will all VW dealers be able to service this car? I can't imagine someone who spent $70,000 on a car getting the same service I do with my $20,000 Jetta.
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    merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    As much as I like this car, I don't think VW's dealer body is ready for it. I know there are some exceptions to this (new dealerships) but the majority just aren't ready to service this car or deal with this type of customer. Autoweek has a writeup on the Phaeton this week also. Autospies has some nice pics of the King VW:

    http://www.imakenews.com/autospies/e_article000197239.cfm

    http://www.imakenews.com/autospies/e_article000197242.cfm

    http://www.imakenews.com/autospies/e_article000197245.cfm

    Such a good looking car, inside and out. Deserves to make it, but I don't think it will.

    M
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    markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Member Posts: 5,343
    The price point of the 8 needs to drop to sub-60K -- the expectations and mission stated would come into better alingment at $59,500.

    Of course we all suppose there will be some discount off MSRP, but if you have the financial where with all to lease or buy a vehicle in this price range, I seriously doubt if the difference between $62K+ and $70K+ will sway you -- but psychologically, I would think $59K would get your attention.

    Indeed, let me characterize this for you:

    my 1997 Audi A8 with all at the time options, went north of $70K, yet the lease payment was "only" $1000 / month for 36 months w/ $0 out of pocket costs. Subsequent Audi A6 4.2's were north of $53K yet had payments over $700. The point is the two hundred some odd dollars -- at the time -- did not deter me from getting another A8; I just wanted a "sportier" V8 equipped Audi.

    There has to be some reason to pull the NEW VW customer in. I cannot imagine that a current Jetta owner will make the jump to a Phaeton. Therefore, the Phaeton buyer will have to come from outside the fold. Someone looking at a BMW 5 or 7 series or perhaps more sharply someone looking at a $50K Mercedes E class (or higher).

    If my optioned Merc would command $50K+ and the published list price of the 8 cyl. Phaeton also began with a "5", I would think that the Merc shopper might mosey on over and see what all the fuss was about at the VW dealer. Cross the barrier ($60K) or threshold price and the customer probably is less interested.

    And, what is the MSRP for a "base" Lexus V8 -- the 430 or whatever it is called these days?

    I am still rooting for VW, but @ $62K it seems a quantum (no pun intended) leap higher than $59K, for the same reason folks see $9.95 differently than $10.00 even though they know it's "only a nickle!"
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    tariktarik Member Posts: 344
    ...and a very good price point for the Phaeton, I think. Those who can overcome the image issue will be happy campers, I'm sure. The price stuns me to no end, especially the W12's.

    The service issue will remain to be seen, but in Germany, VW created a (very thin) grid of premium dealers who are the only ones authorized to work on this car. How this will pan out in the (vastly larger) US, I have no idea, but the rural areas will most likely be the ones to suffer.

    Don, most other German cars (mid-segment and up) had the mirror-tilt function for up to 15 years already. The first car I ever saw that had it was a late 80s AUDI Coupe...
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    merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Exactly! That is just what I was thinking when looking at the base price they've set for the Phaeton V8. They should have priced it at least 59K, or even better 55K, which would have put it right on top of the E500, 545i, S-Type 4.2, LS430, GS430, Q45 and yes the A6 4.2....in other words the mid-level V8 class. It would have a major size/room advantage on the German and British cars and would have been wheel to wheel with the Japanese cars, something no other German luxury car does dollar for dollar, as you always have to pay more. VW had their chance to change this.

    That said, the car has a spectacular interior and it looks better and better in lwb form, though it first appeared to be unbalanced to me. The thing the bothers me most is the VW dealerships that will sell this car, I don't think they're ready. That and it being slightly overweight.

    Vwguild,

    Any word on which Chicagoland dealers will sell the car?

    M
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    merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Yes! A 12-cylinder German luxury sedan for 84K, a raging bargin though it gives up some performance compared to the S600 and 760Li, but still...

    M
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    nedzelnedzel Member Posts: 787
    It sounds to me that the question isn't just whether the dealer are up to servicing this car, but whether VW is up to designing and building it properly. The large number of glitches that dhander experienced in a nearly new car is unforgiveable. And, unfortunately, not surprising for VW.

    VW still has not gotten their act together on quality, so it looks like they are shooting themselves in the foot once again.
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    lenscaplenscap Member Posts: 854
    I agree with you completely. The car is very nice, but the dealers aren't ready for this type of customer. My girlfriend got rid of her Passat earlier this year. The suburban-Chicago dealer she bought it from was so bad (sales and service) she had it serviced at another dealer (a combined VW/Nissan) that was only slightly better, but not much. Not only that, neither dealer was nice at all. That's fine if you're selling a cheaper car, but buyers are going to expect a more luxurious environment. If these two dealers are any indication I can't imagine VW selling many of these.

    I don't even want to get into the mechanical nightmare her Passat was in three years. Her previous car was an Accord that was great, and she thought all cars were the same. She realized they're not and went back to another Accord.
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    Yesterday I drove the W12 to my local MB dealership. I pulled in and it was no surprise that the car attracted attention. Many staffers came out to take a look at the Phaeton.

    I wanted, for a point of comparison, to look at the S500 side-by-side with the Phaeton W12. So I looked at a S500 4MATIC with the AMG sport package (at an eye popping 93k sticker).

    After driving the Phaeton and the S500 I can say for sure that the VW out performs the S500. I can only say that the smoothness of the VW's transmission and the smooth power band of the W12 engine masked my sense of power from the engine. I would bet that the V8 version of the VW will match or better the S500 seeing as the VW V8 claims appx 330HP vs the S500's 302HP.

    The S600 and the 760LI is far to small of a market to get worked up over and just because the all have 12 cylinder engines does not mean that they were meant to compete with each other. I don't think VW is even aiming at that group specifically. As far as raw performance goes, the Phaeton W12 will be a 745 and a S500 killer.

    The interior of the VW had more options/better options. For example the location of the cup holder in the S500 is a plastic insert that brushed up to my pant leg. Fit and trim, I would say, was on near equal ground. As far as space there was no comparison, the VW has TONS more space both in the front and in the back.

    Bottom line, if the VW's V8 can match the performance of the MB's S500 then I believe that those people out there want to have the car but don't require the attention of others. Phaeton V8 at 65K vs S500 at 93k, that is far to big of a gap to ignore.

    From what I was told by the VW reps managing the local Phaeton Experience, Most if not all of the Phaeton’s will be built to order. And they stated with the new production plant that turn around from order to delivery should be in the range of 8-10 weeks.

    I was also informed that not all VW dealers will be carrying the Phaeton. Could this mean that there will be two classes of VW dealers here in the US?

    PS The Phaeton is not in the same league as the E500, 545i, S-Type 4.2, LS430, GS430, Q45, A6 4.2. This car is well beyond those lines.

    PSS I'm one Jetta owner that will be entertaining the V8 version of the Phaeton. The reason being is that most people, as they mature, continue to increase their income until they are in there 50’s where income tends to plateau. An existing VW owner who preferred German engineering but could not afford a BMW, MB, or an Audi could stay within the brand and move up to a ultra luxury vehicle for less money. I think VW’s strategy is that simple. We’ll see if it works.
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    tariktarik Member Posts: 344
    After driving the Phaeton and the S500 I can say for sure that the VW out performs the S500

    Didn't you say you drove the 12-cylinder VW?

    German automotive press concluded that the W12 and the S600 offer similar "punch" under all circumstances. The 50-some more hp of the VW are all drowned out by its roughly 900 lbs of extra weight. I do believe you that driving this new car is impressive, even moreso with its AWD. One thing though, the uneven weight distribution will change the tone to plowing on wet pavament.

    It is also incorrect that the Phaeton offers more room in the back than the LWB Mercedes...
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    I did drive the W12.

    I'm not sure what you are referring to. The S500 has 302HP and 339 ft-lbs of torque. The S600 has 493HP and 590 ft-lbs of torque difference between the W12 at 420Hp and the S500 at 302 is 118HP. Even with the weight difference it was quicker.

    As for the S600, these two models will not compare. I've never driven a S600 but at 493HP and 590 ft-lbs of torque and 4600lbs and a claimed 0-60 of 4.6 by MB, there is no way these two cars would even be close. Not to mention that the S600 is RWD, I’m sure the 0-60 testing was not on a 4MATIC.

    Regarding the space, since the Phaeton has not been released yet VW hasn’t released any official specs on rear headroom, legroom or shoulder room. I can only speak from a side-by-side comparison and I'm quite sure that I am correct. I have the name and number of one of the Phaeton managers here in the US and have placed a call to him. I will get the specs to validate my statement or your claim. I do doubt that he will have any specs to release to me.

    In the mean time, please identify the methods that you employed to come to your conclusion.
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    tariktarik Member Posts: 344
    What I meant to say was that I fully expected a W12 Phaeton to outrun a V8 S500. It should, at least.

    The conclusion re interior space is from a comparison between the Phaeton W12 and the S600L in Auto, Motor und Sport (Aug 8, 2002), a German car publication I subscribe to. But since this car has been at the dealers for more than a year (I saw the first one last summer during a business trip to Germany), we are not at the mercy of a US Phaeton Manager for interior dimensions.

    I'll try to dig up specifics this weekend for better comparison, but now I need to get ready for our little nightly visitors...
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    Although I personally do not speak German, my wife does. I will need to have her interpret the page for me.

    I didn't identify any obvious space information though.

    Is the S600L released for the US market? I can't find any information on the vehicle, not even from MBUSA itself.
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    merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Yeah...that sounds very familiar. We're not talking about VW/Nissan in the Western suburbs are we? I think the dealership experience, service etc. is the main issue here, followed by VW's usual reliability issues.

    dhander,

    I'm sure too that the Phaeton W12 will outperform the S500 and even the 745 but the problem is the dealership. For one thing having certain dealers carry the car and others that don't is a issue in itself. That means people are going to have to seek the car out, so VW must do a better job on advertising this time around, compared to the dismal advertising for the Passat W8.

    I agree that the Phaeton is probably above those mid-level V8 cars, which is all the more reason it should have priced closer to them....I mean really punch them hard. Dare I say like Lexus did with the original LS400.

    The S600L is the same one we have here, in Germany they add the L due to the fact that the S600 is only available in a lwb, while the S320, 400, etc etc are available in swb form. Actually Car and Drive got the S600 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, the Phaeton W12 couldn't hope to keep up. Now the Phaeton "R" that is rumored to be under development, should be able to if they use the W12 as is from the Bentley Continental GT. Though I hardly see this model coming to the U.S. unless Phaeton sales really take off here. For what it's worth I'm told the Phaeton V8 just beat the S430 in a Car and Driver comparo, though I haven't read it yet due to a lax mail system in my area, so I'm not sure of the actual performance numbers.

    M
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    merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Hey I just thought about something, which MB dealer did you swing by to show the Phaeton too, Laurel or Naperville? What was their general impression of the car?

    M
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    "but the problem is the dealership" I agree with you. I have a Jetta and an Acura TL and I have had experience with both service centers. VW's is abysmal! Acura's is unmatched, in my experience.

    I'm not saying that this endeavor is going to last or that the car is better than the others. I'm just stating that from the time I had with the car I have moved from "This is not going to work" to "These guys have a chance"

    The caveat being that VW must find the market, which I think they may do, but also increase their reliability and their service. By the way, the German cars have never cornered the market on reliability.

    Is the S500 the long wheelbase as well? If so then the 430, 500 and 600 all are at 121.5. The Pheaton is at 118.1 (from the 12/03 C&D $70,000 Luxury Sedans article). C&D states that the S430 with the 121.5WB has a rear volume of 52 CU ft. where the Phaeton has 55. Actually between the S430, A8L, 745i, XJ8, LS430 and the VW Phaeton the VW has the most rear seat volume. As a matter of fact the Phaeton has a total of 109 cu ft of interior space compared to 107 A8L, 105 745i, 106 XJ8, 105 for the LS430, and 105 for the S430, the most of the group.

    One note on the article, the title states "$70,000 Luxury Sedans" however they plug the S430 in at a whopping 87,975. 8k more than the 79K BMW. They spot that car against a 65k Jaguar! I'm not sure what the criteria was for selecting the cars, but it wasn't cost... Why not select the XJR at appx 80k? Oh, that's because for the same money the XJR would have embarrassed the S430 (0-60 in 5.0 XJR vs 7.2 S430) and most of the other cars for that matter. Why not select the S8 instead of the A8L at $72,649 nearly loaded you would have an extra 15k... And finally why not the VW W12 at 85k?

    Price is relative and important when comparing anything.

    This is why I take their reviews with a grain of salt; they compare apples to zucchinis!

    "I'm told the Phaeton V8 just beat the S430 in a Car and Driver comparo" The S430 scored a 7.2 0-60 and a 1/4 mile of 15.5 @ 92mph where the VW V8 scored 6.5 0-60 with a 15.1 @ 94mph. It's funny that the S430 at that price was the slowest of the bunch with the Phaeton and Audi tied for 2nd (the only AWD cars of the group).
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    Naperville, I would say their impression was that of skepticism. I don’t think that they felt that VW would be able to compete with their cars; however, I did sense a little bit of defensiveness in the discussion.

    I told them what I liked and what I didn’t like about the car. The mechanic was interested in the engine and the salesman was interested in the interior and amenities, as you might expect.

    I really don’t think that VW is going to steal MB’s domination of the luxury market, but they just may find enough of a market to make the car successful.
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    I sent this off to C&D for their "Backfires" section, though I doubt it will make it to print. A bit too scathing???

    Being fortunate enough to participate in VW's Pheaton Experience last week, I was happy to see this comparison in the December issue that I received two days later. I was looking forward to seeing how the Phaeton would stack up against the premier automobiles.

    Unfortunately the title of the comparo should have been "Some high priced cars we had thrown at us and we didn't take the time or the journalistic integrity to set some standards for entry."

    You have pitted cars from $65k to $88k, '03's vs 04's and RWD vs AWD. To add insult to injury you didn't even select the finest cars that would fit in that price range. For example: why not select the Phaeton W12 ($85k) over the V8 or the Audi S8 ($77k) over the A8L or better yet the XJR ($79k) over the XJ8? Maybe it’s because the XJR would have left the 745i, and all the others for that matter, at the starting line and would have shown how bloated MB’s pricing is.

    I think this proves, once again, your bias for the “Big two” German automakers.
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    tariktarik Member Posts: 344
    The second page of the comparo declares the VW the winner, but states that Mehr Platz im Fond und bessere Fahreigenschaften sind seine wesentlichen Vorzüge, which translates to more room in the back and better ride properties (or driving dynamics) are its [the 600's] main advantages, mainly due to its active suspension setup.

    For this comparison, they used the old, 367hp MB600, the acceleration of which the W12 Phaeton could not top because of its unfortunate bulk. Since MY 03, the 600 has the 493hp (500 in Germany) twin-turboed engine, which puts this discussion to a quick end. Zero to 62mph now come to 6.7sec for the VW (SWB) and 4.5 for the 600L. Even though straight-line acceleration might not be the decisive factor, it is quite a dramatic difference...

    According to the official German sites of both manufacturers, these are the dimensions for both LWB versions:

    Wheelbase: VW 3001mm, MB 3085mm
    Length: VW 5175mm, MB 5163mm

    The only comparable interior measurements I could find stem from two individual tests of the cars in different issues of Auto, Motor und Sport:

    Int width front: VW 1600mm, MB 1540mm
    Int width rear: VW 1555mm, MB 1510mm
    Depth seat bottom front: VW 500mm, MB 520mm
    Depth seat bottom rear: VW 490mm, MB 500mm
    Headroom (from seat) front: VW 970mm, MB 980mm
    Headroom (from seat) rear: 940mm, MB 960mm
    Legroom rear: VW 770-970mm, MB 770-1060mm

    There were no volume calculations given, but the plus in head- and legroom should well offset the Benz' slightly narrower cabin design.

    Whatever, these are the numbers, the impression could be different depending even on the interior's color.
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    icbeagleicbeagle Member Posts: 1
    Hi all, I am enjoying your conversations about this exciting new car.

    I was surprised tonight to actually come upon a Phaeton on Dubuque Street this evening in Iowa City. It had Michigan mfg. plates, and a W12 badge. I had my wife check my new Autoweek issue which has a nice two-pager on the Phaeton. It really was a Phaeton!

    It is very nice looking, very long and elegant. I couldn't get the bearded driver's attention, but then we were both navigating home football game traffic (IOWA 41, Illinois 10 GO HAWKS!!).

    As he turned onto I-80 east, and I west, I've no doubt that his ride was an enjoyable one, moreso than my '01 RAV-4.
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    merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Well, some interesting points. With any Car and Driver comparo there is a degree of fickleness. The S430, 745, XJ8, LS430 and Phaeton V8 do match up in specification if more so than price. The XJ and LS are at the bottom of the range with the German cars setting the upper limits. I'm sure they'll be (in some other mag) a Phaeton W12, S600, 760Li comparo sometime in the future. The car I'm waiting to see compared with this group is the Maserati Quattroporte. The XJR wasn't selected because its a sport model along the lines of the S8 or E55 or even S55. I personally would like to have seen a S500 for that price in the comparo, and of course a 2004 model. Not really fair to compare cars of different years, when some of the cars have worthwhile improvements for the new year.

    One thing I have to disagree with you on is that Car and Driver is biased against the German carmakers. That simply hasn't been the case. They've put BMWs over more times than I can think of, and I'm guessing (haven't read the test yet) that the BMW lost mainly on it's design both inside and out. I hope C&D is in the mail today gee whiz.

    You should have emailed me about your visit to Naperville MB, I would have liked to see the Kingfish VW!

    M
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    The point of my tirade was to amplify my dissatisfaction of the criteria for the comparo. I don't think it was fair to any of the automobiles.
    Here are a few additional thought's that I had on the camparo:
    LS430 - they had to add on a 11k option just to get the in the range. To me that states that the LS430 is an even better value if you are looking to get the most for your $. Not everyone who has money is looking to throw it away in depreciation.
    S430 - I agree with you completely on the MY standard and possibly the model, however, at 90k the gap would have been on the borderline of ridiculous.
    In order to have a comparison of anything you need to set some standards. When you title a comparison "$70,000 Luxury Sedans" you are doing just that. The title infers that cars in the 70k with 4 doors are the focus of the comparison.
    The problem I have is that they didn't adhere to any standard except for the 4 doors.
    I would like to see C&D do a couple of things:
    1. Start making comparisons based on $. Give each of the testers 25k, 35K, 45K, etc. and have them find a car that fits into a range and then compare them. You could have comparisons based on Performance, Luxury, both, etc. Or rate each of them in those categories. One could rate higher in the luxury category and lower in the performance but that's okay if that’s what someone is looking for. My comment on the "Big Two" is that their reviews always seem to say "Nice car but its not the same as a BMW..."
    2. Have a monthly contest or something that selects readers and allows them to participate in these comparisons. I believe that the same group of people rating cars is like a prostitute evaluating their "John's" performance, at some point don't you think that their objectiveness gets lost? Every one has their favorites.
    I did e-mail you... Though I had already been there and back and was getting ready to drop the car off. Sorry! My brother said today that he saw a Silver one out in Aurora somewhere this past weekend.
    You know I must admit that spending a whole day testing a car is a lot different than the amount of time I spent in the S500. To be fair I wish I could have done that with all the other cars!
    I wouldn't doubt that VW comes out with some big incentives to move the Phaeton. Hell, they gave my wife and I a bottle of wine and a wine opening set which was probably worth $50. Not bad for taking the car for a 24 hour ride...
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    merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    I understand what you're saying about the comparos, but they wouldn't be able to conduct a good test that way. I guess they really shouldn't have set a price like 70K, but simply said entry level premium sedans, which is what they really did. The LS430 is sort of hard to compare because its base price is in the 55K range and thus would compare to the E500, 545i, A6 4.2. and so on, not really the same type of car. All those cars are smaller, sportier and just generally not as luxurious as the LS430. More or less I agree with their choosing of the cars, because at 70K there really isn't a Mercedes at exactly 70K. You could either use a base S430 or a loaded, and I mean a really loaded E500, of which wouldn't make sense, since they're hardly, if ever sold that way. There really isn't a Lexus for exactly 70K either, they just tried to make the cars fit the price range more or less. They actually could have used a base S500 with just a few options for less than that S430.

    So what happens after you give the Phaeton back? Are you impressed enough to get one?

    M
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    It was a little strange... I was expecting a lot of questions or to complete a feedback form but they did none of that. I had to bring up the subject of impressions of the car. I can't really comprehend the goal of the "Phaeton Experience" except to get people to drive the car.

    Interestingly enough I asked them how we were selected and from what the manager said "Because you are an existing VW owner and you must have purchased a VW recently"

    I'm baffled about their strategy on this. No attempt to establish a relationship to initiate a purchase of the vehicle. The experience just began on 10/20 so they may still be tinkering with the marking plan, but its just not that complicated.

    All that said... Regarding purchasing one, not this year or even next. Although it is a very nice car, I think it's too much too fast.

    I've said on previous posts my thoughts on VW's dismal service and support, I'm not going to spend that kind of money for a car and be treated in that way.

    I wish Acura would produce a car that fits in this group. I would buy one from them in a heartbeat. I've never seen a better service group for a line and I've "Stopped" in at several dealers for quick service. No appointments, they just fix it. Sometimes without any paperwork being completed.
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    vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    It would seem that any sales activity would be deemed offensive; the rants would be endless...

    For the balance of the year it is all word of mouth...No ad campaign at all for 2003.

    Phaeton Service will come to you, by the way, and your Phaeton Specialist will handle anything else that is needed...
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    tariktarik Member Posts: 344
    I'm baffled about their strategy on this. No attempt to establish a relationship to initiate a purchase of the vehicle.

    It could simply be a nimble approach to alleviate existing and predictable marketing pressure utilized by everybody else and their brother. Allow the loyal currect VW owner, who could potentially direct prospective customers' attention to the brand, a few ungoverned, nice, and luxurious hours, and watch the low-pressure tactic bring out deeper appreciation for the dealer's integrity. Sorta appeals to me, at least.

    Maybe, and just to be complete, this is how most things marketing are worked in Europe, anyway.
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    It's hard to position on either side until the hand is shown and the details are provided. I just wanted the people I was dealing with to care enough about how I felt about the car, the good and the bad. This was a great opportunity for VW to alter its image that it has had. You can provide a low/no pressure environment while obtaining an honest evaluation of the car. As a matter of fact, I think this would endear the potential customer to the VW brand.

    It may be my middle class upbringing, but I am very frugal when it comes to making large purchases. I try and squeeze every nickel out of my purchases. Which is why resale and initial value mean so much to me. I don't care about the badge, just that I get the most for my money and spend as little as possible doing it. Now I know everyone isn't like me, and to me, that's great since there will be more deals out there for me to exploit.

    BTW, I'll probably buy a CPO 2001-2002 S500 (I like the S series styling) or E55. The only thing stopping me is that I like Acura so much and my '99 TL has been such a good car that I'm reluctant to spend money on another one, but I guess it's inevitable...
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    tariktarik Member Posts: 344
    ...where you're coming from. Lessee whether they'll follow up with you after a week or two. If not, you probably are correct, and they don't yet have all their marketing ducks in a row - but that's far better than having a Bangle (as in BMW chief <dare I say> designer) screw up the entire car line...

    As to frugality, we are very much alike - value is NOT overrated! Depending on how many kids you'll have to chauffeur around, and on your age, the listed options make sense. Being a lifelong MB fan myself, I'd try everything to get into the E55 over the S-Class, simply for kicks, but YMMV.
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    dhanderdhander Member Posts: 41
    And he's from Wisconsin of all places...

    I only have one child, nearly two yrs old and I'm 34 so space is won't be a big issue for a few years. I'm avoiding the SUV/Minivan as long as I possibly can.
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    tariktarik Member Posts: 344
    You said the word!!! *g*

    My wife swore she'd rather be walking than be seen in a minivan, good upbringing, I say. With only one child (we have one 6-yr old), the more-on-the-edge choice should not pose a problem for you at all. So, if you can get her approval for the AMG, get it now and trade it for an S55 (or a second gen Phaeton) later.

    See, life can be easy...
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    vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    appear that any of the above fit the Phaeton demographic...

    As I mentioned above, this is all word of mouth PR...The car is in place, and these are not prototypes, but it would not surprise me if all of those that were invited to drive, and accepted the invitation, were not thanked for their time and asked for an impression...
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    vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    aside from specs, Dealer experiences, money, etc.
    that you have discussed, what did you think of the car???
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    patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    You can see what Edmunds editor Kelly Stennick thinks after spending two days driving the W12 through the country roads of eastern Germany.

    The "First Drive" piece is accessible from the Helpful Links box on the left side of the page.

    Enjoy!
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    vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    Nice piece, but a bit short on the drive experience itself...And having driven the W12 & the V8, I can tell you all pales compared to the drive...and sound...:)
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    tariktarik Member Posts: 344
    Earlier, you mentioned that straightline acceleration will not be the main dealbraker in this class of automobiles, but the exhaust note always seems to play a big role. How's that?
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    vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    to me just really completes the experience...very personal, very subjective I know, but...

    We drove the 745Li, S500, LS430, and the Phaeton was just a more exhilarating experience...

    I love BMW, I used to have an M6 in 1985, but iDrive was rediculous and the pop out credit card/calculator was just too much. We own a MBZ, and some one asked me about how the S500 drove and I responded, "Like every MBZ I have ever driven", and the LS430 was just kind of bland...nice, but not very adventurous or exciting...
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    vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    back up River Rd. with some friends after visiting another friend at his winery in Soledad, Ca...This car handles like a dream...
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    regfootballregfootball Member Posts: 2,166
    congrats....pics, please
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    fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    I think he Brought...not bought a W12.
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